Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
|Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
State Office Building
|Cost||36 million dollars (1974)|
|Owner||New York State|
|Floor area||260,000 square feet (24,000 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Ifill Johnson Hanchard|
The Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, originally the Harlem State Office Building, is a nineteen story high-rise office building located at 163 West 125th Street at the corner of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It is named after Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the first African-American elected to Congress from New York, and was designed by the African-American architecture firm of Ifill Johnson Hanchard in the Brutalist style. It is the tallest building in Harlem, overtaking the nearby Hotel Theresa.
The building was proposed in 1966 by then-Governor of New York State, Nelson Rockefeller, as the beginning of a surge of development to turn Harlem into a "truly viable community". Ground was broken in 1967 with the demolition of a Corn Exchange Bank building. In 1969 work was halted on the project as a result of demonstrators objecting to the racial makeup of the construction workforce and the intended purpose of the facility. By mid-1970 the dispute was resolved and work resumed on the site.
The building was completed in 1973 and was initially known as the Harlem State Office Building. While the building was criticized for lacking basic requirements such as a building manager and fire equipment, eventually things settled down to the point that in 1978 the location hosted Harlem's first giant Christmas tree.
In 1983 the building was renamed the "Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building" after the former U.S. Representative, the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who had died in 1972. In 1994 the building was threatened with closure due to budget cuts; however, it remained open.
Over the years, the building has been criticized as a "killer building" from the urban renewal movement of the 1960s that "disfigured" the neighborhood, and as an example of mediocre government architecture. However, others have embraced it as helping to focus the community's efforts in future development battles.
In 2006, the Harlem Community Development Corporation partnered with the New York State Office of General Services to propose a redesign of the African Square that the building occupies.
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- Columbia University Urban Technical Assistance Project (Fall 2006). "African Square at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building" (PDF). Harlem Community Development Corporation. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- Media related to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building at Wikimedia Commons